"Return to Me" by Lynn Austin is the first in the Restoration Chronicles series. This book gives a fictional retelling of the return of the Jews to Jerusalem after the Babylonians exiled them to Babylonia. The story follows Iddo, Dinah, their grandson, Zaki, and their neighbors. Yael is Zaki's friend, the neighbors daughter. She is a moon goddess worshiper. Babylonia is overtaken; and the new rulers release the Jews to return to Jerusalem. Many didn't want to return, due to having been exiled for 70 years, many either never lived elsewhere or had no connection to Jerusalem. Those that could remember (Iddo) desperately wanted to return. When arriving they rise to the task of restoring the city, temple, and lives.
I am a big Lynn Austin fan. I love her writing. This novel took much longer than normal for me to "get into". Part I just couldn't seem to pull me in. Part II is where I started to really come to care about the characters. Austin really starts to develop Iddo and make the reader care. He suffers from Post traumatic stress and is a deeply faithful man. Austin also starts to pull the reader into the character of Yael. I love how she does her own thing (though wrong) and is so stubborn. She is not a cut out character. Though slow in the beginning this book is well worth the read. I received this book for free in exchange for a review from Bethany House Publishing.